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The Girls and Women of the Catrinka Girls Project

To celebrate International Day of the Girl this year, we created five short videos focusing on the girls and women of the Catrinka Girls Project in Guatemala, which your purchases support. The Catrinka Girls Project is run by Redmi Aq'ab'al, a new NGO formed by 8 women graduates of the Population Council's Abriendo Oportunidades program, to 1) expand its education and life skills mentoring work to the Totonicapan area; and 2) deepen it by providing a small production co-op for older girls, so they can develop new skills and earn money to invest in their education and improve their financial literacy.

Younger Girls:

Magdalena, 10, is the oldest of three children, and her parents work in the fields. When her mother is working, she looks after her 1 year old sister. Before joining, she was very shy and didn't like expressing her opinions. Through the program, she has been learning about her strengths and discovering her skills, and says her attitude and thoughts have changed. She loves sharing the experience with other girls, and building a network of girlfriends. Magdalena wants to become a teacher so she can help the girls in her community.

Ericka, 12, lives with her aunt and two little brothers. Her parents had to move away to be able to earn enough to support their children's education. Before joining the Catrinka Girls Project, her classmates made fun of her for being too scared to answer a question in class. Now she is discovering her voice and isn't afraid to express her opinions. Her dream is to get an advanced degree and become a teacher to help her community.

Older Girl:

Benita, 15, would like to continue formal education but doesn't have the financial resources to do it. Once a year she works 2-3 months over the holidays in a restaurant kitchen or taking care of children for a wealthy family to contribute economically to her family. She would like to build her own business and sees the program as a way to build the skills to do that.

Mentors:

Elizabeth is the coordinator of Redmi, the NGO formed by indigenous women to provide education and life skills mentoring to adolescent girls in the most vulnerable and poor rural areas of Guatemala. "We see what the girls’ lives are like. It is very difficult
They have very few opportunities to be able to succeed in life.." The program's goal is to strengthen girls "so they can make their own decisions about their own lives."

Hermelinda is the leader of the productive skills component of the Catrinka Girls Project. "I feel very good to be  passing my skills to other adolescent girls who need them." I invite every adolescent girl to be a fighter, to be an entrepreneur, that each of us be an example for every girl who comes behind us."

October 20, 2016 by Megan Reilly Cayten